Besra proves a comprehensively successful investor

March 26, 2013 | 09:13
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The presence of Besra, known previously as Olympus Pacific Mineral - one of the first foreign investors of Vietnam in gold mining and exploration industry in Quang Nam province, has not only brought significant economic values to the country, but also contributed remarkable social ones to the two mountainous districts of Phu Ninh and Phuoc Son.

The advanced technology in Phuoc Son gold milling plant

Dinh Van Thu, vice chairman of Quang Nam Provincial People’s Committee, said Besra had owned the two biggest gold mining companies in Vietnam - the Bong Mieu Gold Mining Company (BMGMC) in Phu Ninh district and Phuoc Son Gold Company (PSGC) in Phuoc Son district.

“These two joint ventures have been among leaders in tax payment to the provincial government,” said Thu. This also affirms the success of the foreign investment project in Quang Nam, which has greatly contributed to local socio-economic development.

David Seton, chairman of Besra Gold, said: “BMGMC and PSGC are the most advanced gold milling plants in South East Asia and were built by local contractors following world class standards strictly required and supervised by Besra.”

“Local suppliers from various sectors have benefited from the company during the pre-construction phase and in current operations.  Until February 2013, Besra’s payments to the local suppliers and contractors totaled nearly VND3.3 trillion ($158 million). These businesses in turn helped stimulate the local economy in addition to creating jobs for local residents,” he said.

Le Minh Kha, general director of BMGMC & PSGC, said: “The gold mining and exploration project in Phuoc Son is on 72 square kilometres with total investment capital of $65 million.  This project has been actually implemented since 1998 on 100sqm under licences issued by the former Industry Ministry in 1998 and extended in 2000.  Since 2008, PSGC has continued its exploration and mining of 42 square kilometres under a licence issued by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in 2008.”

“The positive results from the survey has laid strong foundation for the short-to-medium term production planning, and determined long-term development strategy of the project. The total expenses of the survey until December 31, 2010 was VND211 billion ($10 million),” said Kha.

“Since the date of construction in 2006 until the end of December 2012, PSGC has funded about VND23 billion ($11 million) for infrastructure construction including local road and bridge building, over VND4 billion ($191,380) for the clean water project in Phuoc Duc commune and approximately VND5 billion ($239,234) for community development programmes and other social programmes. Both BMGMC and PSGC have paid VND731 billion ($35 million) in taxes and royalties to the government,” added Kha.  

It is said that 75 per cent of the total spending by Besra has been directly invested in Vietnam. This rate is much higher than the average rate 20-40 per cent conducted by other foreign mining companies around the world.

David Seton at the comprehensive partnership signing ceremony with VietABank

Promoting social values

Talking about these two gold mining companies, leaders of Quang Nam province have recognised and appreciated their social roles. Economically, their sustainable development has contributed positively to job creation for local communities, social stability and considerably mitigated illegal forestry and mining activities to protect ecological environment of the mining area and the neighbourhood.

Darin Lee, chief operating officer of Besra, said: “Besra has been creating about 1,800 permanent jobs at both its mine sites, with priority for local workers.”

“Vietnamese staff are smart, dynamic and hard-working. We will gradually hand over our world class mining expertise and experiences from foreign employees to the local ones. Our human resources strategy is to localise both top management and technical staff,” Lee added.

Kha said: “The creation of sustainable jobs for these local employees has helped  improve the lives of locals near mine sites as well as the social security problems.

In addition, Besra has brought the most practical benefits to locals through its investment in community programmes. Over VND45 billion ($2.3 million) was invested into infrastructure from roads to a clean water system, school classroom building, new houses for low income families, health care programs, student support and local agri-economics programmes.

One of the important public infrastructure projects is the current clean water project in Phuoc Duc commune where the company operates. The project was granted more than VND4 billion ($191,380) to provide clean water for 350 households. The project consists of a small dam in the upper reaches of the Dak Sa River, a water treatment plant, a store house containing an electric generator and nearly 19km of pipe connecting to each household.

“Our direct economic contribution is made up of the value we generate by paying employees’ wages and benefits, government taxes and royalties, supplier payments, and our return on capital to shareholders. Beyond the direct economic impact, our indirect contribution is far greater once the multiplier effect takes place.  Examples of the indirect ripple effect include: people spending their wages to buy goods and services, governments distributing tax and royalty revenues, and neighbouring communities using the infrastructure developed for our operations,” said Kha.

Besra’s comprehensive success has not only created huge confidence of local authorities, but also built reliable collaboration with key partners. Most recently, Viet A Joint Stock Commercial Bank has officially signed a comprehensive partnership with PSGC. Accordingly, Viet A Bank has committed to initially fund $18 million for gold mining and exploration at Phuoc Son mine.

Also at the signing ceremony, Seton confirmed the importance of cooperation with Vietnamese partners and considered this as the optimal solution for mutual development. Moreover Seton was excited to introduce “The Great Honda 67 Ride through Vietnam” for raising funds for Phu Ninh and Phuoc Son districts.

This is a charity programme filled with humanity and affirmed the social responsibility of an investor, the empathy and sharing of Seton himself with locals. Detailed information and update of the ride, charity programme as well as  contribution method for the fund are available at the website:

For this noble gesture, “The Great Honda67 Ride” through Vietnam was warmly welcomed and supported by leaders of Quang Nam province. Particularly, Quang Nam People’s Committee chairman Dinh Van Thu confirmed that he would be a member of this charity programme.

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